Have you ever wondered...?

Have you ever wondered...?

...Could the Dalai Lama choose not to reincarnate? How does religion play a role in global conflict or peacemaking? What are religious views on artificial intelligence or genetic engineering? What do religious texts have to say about animal rights, immigrant rights, queer rights, or health rights? The Department…

Religious Studies

About the Department

For students seeking a socially engaged liberal arts education, the Department of Religious Studies explores questions of power, knowledge, and identity as they relate to religious traditions. While developing a deeper understanding of oneself as a situated knower, students also explore individual religious traditions in depth, as well as broad themes such as the following: myth, ritual, and symbol; mysticism, magic, and medicine; beginning and end times; ethics, law, and moral philosophy; oppression and liberation; pacifism and violence; animals, bodies, and emotions. Courses are conducted with attention to structures and institutions of class, gender, sexuality, and race in their cultural and historical contexts.

For the major and minor in Religious Studies, the faculty provides an introduction to the academic discipline of Religious Studies followed by careful probing of two or more important traditions and a consideration of the methods useful to their study. A major or minor provides opportunities to develop excellent skills in writing, analysis, and argumentation and serves as an exceptional stepping stone to graduate or professional school. Past majors have gone on to excel in the non-profit sector, law school, medical school, doctoral programs, social work, creative writing, marketing and business, among other vocations.

Learning Objectives in the Religious Studies Major

  • To develop an understanding of a range of religious traditions, including Asian and Abrahamic religions
  • To develop an understanding of the roles religions play in political, economic, social, cultural, and moral areas of people’s lives
  • To gain familiarity with a variety of theories, methods, and issues involved in the academic study of religions.